The Best Way to Spend a Day in Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina

A Day in the Balkans…

We travelled to Bosnia & Herzegovina for a day trip when we were spending a week’s holiday in Croatia, as the southern city of Mostar is very close to Dubrovnik. The only thing I had previously known about Bosnia & Herzegovina was that it participated in the Eurovision and I could never pronounce the second part! (I still cannot)

Our trip just included a visit to Kravice Waterfalls and to the medieval city of Mostar, but we would have loved to explore more of this fascinating country.

Firstly, the Amazing Kravice Falls

From Dubrovnik, we travelled a few short hours to get to the border of Bosnia & Herzegovina. After a quick passport check, we moved on to Kravice Falls. The waterfall was such an amazing sight, the pictures really do not do it justice! You could even swim in the water, surrounded by small fish, and take in the fantastic views. Unfortunately, it was not permitted to carry out religious rituals. Damn it! We had really been hoping to perform a baptism at the waterfall!

Falls

Kravice Waterfall.

Next Up: On to Mostar

Mostar is a small city about 40km from Kravice, rich in culture and beauty. The old Turkish-style houses and Stari Most bridge make the city a beautifully picturesque place to visit. Plus, it is super cheap! The currency is Bosnian Mark, and coming from Dubrovnik, (which was kind of expensive due to it being such a popular tourist destination), we found the prices here to be very reasonable! For instance, we got a drink in a cocktail bar called Ljetna Bašta Oscar for less than €3 euro per cocktail. They were pretty strong too! See their Facebook page here.

Mostar2

Ljetna Bašta Oscar cocktail bar.

Wandering through the old streets with Ottoman houses makes you feel as though you are in a different century and the traditional way of life is fascinating to see. Tourism also brings a lot to the city, and the locals were very welcoming and friendly to visitors. (He may not look happy below but I think I caught him off guard!) Bosnia & Herzegovina was actually voted the 8th friendliest nation towards tourists in 2013.

Mostar culture

Markets along the old streets of Mostar.

The Old Bridge (Stari Most) that connects two parts of the city is a famous landmark in Mostar, and our tour guide told us that many of the locals try to get money from tourists in return for jumping into the water!

Views from the Old Bridge.

The best way to get around the cobbled streets is by foot, although it can get very hot in Mostar, with temperatures reaching above 40°C at times. I guess if you get too hot you can always take a page out of the local’s book and jump from the Old Bridge! (Just kidding)

Old streets of Mostar.

The site that we booked our trip through can be found here. (You also get it at a discounted rate if you have booked accommodation through them, so we got our day trip for around €50)

Happy travelling,

Sarah.

24 Hours in…Bratislava, Slovakia

Discover Bratislava!

We travelled to the lovely capital of Slovakia early in May and were pleasantly surprised with the beauty of the city. We had this misconception that the city, and indeed Slovakia in general, was quite a run-down, unattractive place. (Thanks, Euro Trip!) Just an idea of how it is perceived in this movie:

…versus how it really looks…

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What to Do in Bratislava?

Firstly, Bratislava is super cheap! They use the Euro but unlike a lot of most European capital cities, you won’t get completely ripped off wining and dining in the centre. Bratislava has many beautiful castles, churches, and palaces so finding some amazing architecture is not difficult! Some memorable sights include the Slovak Radio Building and the Blue Church (as seen below).

L-R: Radio Building; Blue Church.

Bratislava is not a huge city and it’s certainly possible to get loads done in one day. You can visit Bratislava Castle for just €7, and the newly built baroque garden at the back is free to visit and it’s amazing. It’s so white and on the sunny day that we went I had forgotten my sunglasses and could barely see, it was that white!

L-R: Bratislava Castle grounds; Baroque gardens.

The castle is located above the Old Town, and the walk up to it is along these pretty narrow and colourful streets, so you almost don’t mind all the walking (almost). From the castle, you also get the view of the U.F.O bridge, which was great as it was the last thing on our list to see!

L-R: U.F.O Bridge; Narrow streets.

Where to Eat/Drink

We wanted to try some traditional food so we went to the Slovak Pub because it had some great reviews. The place itself is lined with wooden tables and checked tablecloths, serving a variety of dishes but one of the most popular was their creamy garlic soup which came in a bowl of bread! This place was also very reasonable, as you can expect to pay less than €10 for a main meal, with the exception of some more expensive beef dishes.

Slovak Pub, Bratislava.

We also visited the Lemontree & Sky Bar Restaraunt in the city centre, but make sure to reserve first because we had to go back a second time to get a table! There are some really cute bars and restaurants with outdoor seating dotted around the centre, and during the summer it’s a lovely place to relax. Another positive thing about Bratislava is that it’s not crazy busy like a lot of capitals, there is a much more relaxed vibe.

 

 

Happy travelling,

Sarah.

 

 

 

Save Money in Dubrovnik: Your Own Game of Thrones Tour!

Game of Thrones Tour: Best Spots

Dubrovnik has become a huge tourist destination in the last couple of years, and this has a lot to do with the filming of different scenes from Game of Thrones. Fans of the show flock to the bustling city to see some iconic locations such as King’s Landing, the Red Keep, Qarth and the Sept of Baelor where Cersei’s infamous walk of shame took place. I had personally only re-watched the show to recognize some of the filming locations but you don’t even need to be a big fan to enjoy the beautiful landscape that is Dubrovnik. The old city walls surrounding the Old Town teleport you back to Medieval times and the palaces and baroque churches are simply magnificent.

Being a tourist in Dubrovnik is certainly not cheap though, so be sure to research and prepare your day trips before you go to save some money for the more important stuff (ice cream and cocktails).

The Game of Thrones tours can cost anything from 20 to 50 euro but it’s just as easy to see a lot of film locations by yourself. Below are some locations we visited without paying a fee.

*Warning: Spoilers!*

1. King’s Landing

King's LandingpierPhoto cred: here.

The capital of the seven kingdoms can be found by simply visiting the Old Town in Dubrovnik. Views of the large city walls can be recognized, along with the pier, where notable scenes were shot as visitors came and left King’s Landing by boat. Also, by just walking through the narrow streets of the Old Town you can really feel the GoT vibe!

Image uploaded from iOS (3).jpg

2. Sept of Baelor/Shame Steps

Shame steps

Photo cred: here.

Cersei’s walk of atonement can be recreated at Dubrovnik’s Jesuit steps in front of the Great Sept of Baelor, however, a lot of the scenes within the building are shot elsewhere.

3. Little Finger’s Brothel

Photo Cred: here.

The outer part of Petyr Baelish’s brothel can be found also in the Old Town. Unsurprisingly, it isn’t a brothel in real life, but rather an ethnographic museum. Be prepared to climb a few steps to get there though! Although you’ll have thighs of steel after all your step-climbing in Dubrovnik.

4. Joffrey’s Wedding

Photo cred: here.

Not as glamorous in real life as in the show, but you can visit the location where the reception of Joffrey and Margaery’s wedding was filmed. Located in Gradac Park, you can make out where the fabulous decorations once stood and stand around the spot where Joffrey was finally killed!

5. Spice King’s Palace (Qarth)

Photo cred: here.

Visit the museum Rector’s Palace in Dubrovnik to catch a glimpse of where some Qarth scenes were filmed with the Spice King and Daenerys. You can pay an entrance fee into the museum or view the steps from the entrance without paying a thing!

Now, on to some unavoidable fees! I would recommend definitely paying 150 HRK (about 20 euro) to do the walk of the Dubrovnik old city walls. You get to walk above the whole of the old city, which is about a 2km walk. Not only are the views of the coast superb, but you can also visit a number of towers and forts along the way, including Fort Lovrijenac (The Red Keep) and Minčeta Tower (House of the Undying).

6. Minčeta Tower (House of the Undying)

House of the Undying

Photo cred: here.

See the House of the Undying at Fort Minčeta along the old city walls of Dubrovnik. *Tip: If you want to enter without having the city walls ticket there is a fee so make sure to get the walls ticket first in order to get more for your money! We made the silly mistake of going to the tower first and climbing the delightful narrow staircase only to discover we could have entered with the city walls ticket!

7. Lokrum Island (Qarth scenes)

We were pretty disappointed with Lokrum Island as we expected to notice more GoT filming locations than we did, but they weren’t as obvious as others. I think a lot of the Qarth scenery is CGI, and just a couple of scenes are shot in the Botanical Gardens. The island is just a short boat trip from Dubrovnik Old Town but the cost is quite expensive at 120 HRK (around 16 euro). Sure, there are plenty of different types of plants and trees but we found the Botanical Gardens to be disappointing as nothing was lush and vibrant like we expected. I have seen pictures of it though and perhaps at other times of the year, it looks more impressive.

Clockwise: Sea views from the island, ‘The Path of Paradise’ (nightmare to climb!); Lokrum Island in the distance; Greenery of Lokrum.

Notice the variety of palm trees on Lokrum island similar to those on the show.

Photo cred: here.

So realistically you can see all of the main Game of Thrones sights for free if you visit Dubrovnik Old Town. Anywhere else is optional! Although Minčeta Tower is included in the old city walls ticket so may as well pay a visit to recreate some scenes!

As previously mentioned, you don’t need to be a Game of Thrones fan to visit this fantastic city, and you are in a perfect location to easily visit closeby countries such as Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina and even Albania. Day trips can be found for a great price here.

Happy travelling,

Sarah.